That all 13 Thai soccer players and their coach made it out safely is beyond miraculous.
That’s what it sounds like, hearing from the expert divers who were called to conduct the operation of extracting them from the cave. Some of them opened up recently about the rescue, revealing just how perilous and dangerous the push to get them out of the cave was.
British cave diver Jason Mallinson told a reporter, “It’s one of the most difficult and dangerous and risky things I’ve ever done, not in terms of my own personal safety, but in terms of the people I was responsible for.”
“I’ve never done anything as risky as that and I don’t think I ever will again. But it was the only option we had, and we took it.”
The decision to get them out by diving was decided on at the last minute, rather than waiting four or five months until the rains stopped—that would have presented a huge logistical challenge in terms of supplying the kids with meals every day for that length of time, according to Fox News.
But diving them out was so risky that several of the rescue team believed they were not going to bring them all out.
“The probability of success was about as low as you can get,” said U.S. Mission Commander Major Charles Hodges.
“I was fully expecting that we would accept casualties. Maybe three, four, possibly five would die,” he said.
The journey out of the cave for each child took three hours with nine segments. They were sedated to keep them from panicking. Accompanied by two divers, they had to swim under water with zero visibility.
“We’d submerge with the kid. And depending how the [guide] line laid, we’d either have them on the right-hand side or the left-hand side, either holding their back or holding their chest,” said Mallinson.
“I had to have the lad really close to me because if you didn’t, you were bashing his head against the rocks,” he said.
He added, “If we bashed him against a rock too hard and it dislodged that mask and flooded his mask, he was a goner. So that’s why we had to be very slow and careful about not banging them against rocks.”
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